Eduardo Berizzo Praises Win Over Barakaldo, Confirms Xabi Etxeita Will Leave Athletic Club

Eduardo Berizzo

Eduardo Berizzo is happy with Sunday’s win, but also sees need for improvement (AC)

Athletic played their second preseason friendly on Sunday against Barakaldo in what turned out to be another exciting performance. The Lions scores 5 goals in the first half to cruise to victory and after the game Eduardo Berizzo has praise for his team. However, he recognizes that they haven’t played a top opponent yet and is more concerned with the mistakes than the goals.

“This game gave us more minutes which is good to build a rhythm. The first half had more pace and rhythm than the second half, but everyone tried to have movement and the idea of controlling the ball. Scoring is always good, it reinforces confidence. A lot of our attackers scored and that is a good thing. I like being on the attack and not playing passive. Sabin Merino had a lot of chances and Muniain played well as a playmaker. He can also play on the wing, but I think playmaker is his natural position. It was two totally difference halves, but we were playing against a team from the Segunda B. I am more worried about the mistakes that were made.”

Berizzo was also asked about Xabi Etxeita who has yet to be called up for a friendly, while also being linked with a move away. The manager confirmed that he is set to leave Athletic this summer and hasn’t played him in order to protect him from injury before making his exit.

“Etxeita has the option to leave, as a precaution we thought it was best for him to not participate. It was better to protect him so that his option is clear. Xabi deserves to have minutes and if he isn’t going to have them with us, then professionalism obliges me to give him the opportunity elsewhere. Signing a replacement? I think we have enough with the three center-backs that are here, but I also have some young players who are transitioning to the position and it is possible that I will count on them.”

Iker Muniain

Iker Muniain performed well as the playmaker against Barakaldo (AC)

In closing, Berizzo touched on the injury to Raúl García, saying that it was only minor. Rulo will still travel with the team to Holland for their training trip and the manager will give that squad list to the team later today.

“Raúl García suffered a slight injury during training but he’s doing better. He will travel with us to Holland. Iñigo Martinez won’t have the ability to play so he will stay here to continue recovering. I have the squad list for Holland in mind and I will give it to the team this afternoon.”

Athletic will be traveling to Holland tomorrow for their training trip which will last through 29 July. The trip will end with a tournament in Germany hosted by Duisburg. Upon returning the Lions will also be competing in the Basque Cup final against Real Sociedad before playing difficult friendlies against Mainz, Fiorentina, Hannover and Augsburg. The season is roughly one month away and Berizzo is working hard to ensure that his team is ready.

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